Drunk driving is a major cause of car accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. People who drive drunk and cause an accident can go to jail, but the knowledge that there is one less drunk driver on the road does nothing concrete to help you if you are suffering from serious injuries caused by a crash with a drunk driver.
The criminal courts deal with deterring drunk driving with methods such as alternative sentencing programs that aim to help defendants achieve sobriety, but people injured in drunk driving accidents should be even more interested in another branch of law, namely personal injury law. If you were injured in a car accident, and the driver of the car that hit yours was drunk, a Rhode Island car accident lawyer could help you recover compensation.
Should You Sue If You Are Injured in a DUI Accident?
In general, people file personal injury lawsuits after a car accident only when chances are good that the court will order the defendant to pay them damages, or that the defendant will offer them a settlement instead of leaving it to a judge to decide. The way to win a personal injury lawsuit is by showing that there was negligence on the defendant’s part. Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs is a classic case of negligence, so if you have evidence showing that the defendant was drunk at the time of the crash, such as a police report taken at the scene of the accident, then you have a good chance of winning.
Unlike in criminal cases involving DUI, the deciding factor isn’t how high above the legal limit the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was or whether they had previous DUIs. The most important thing to prove is that the defendant’s drunk driving caused your injuries. Therefore, it is just as important to give clear evidence of the extent of your injuries and the financial losses they have cost you as it is to prove that the defendant was drunk.
When Not to Sue
Only a small fraction of the people injured by drunk drivers go on to file personal injury lawsuits. This is because it is only worth the effort of preparing and presenting your case in order to be awarded compensation if the defendant has the money to pay that compensation. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to sue the average person driving home drunk from the bar. If the drunk driver was drunk on the job driving a company car, though, it may be worthwhile to sue the company. Likewise, according to Rhode Island’s dram shop liability laws, you might have a case against the bar where the person got drunk.
Contact Dana and Dana About Car Accident Cases
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, a personal injury lawyer can help. Contact Dana and Dana, a personal injury law firm in Providence, Rhode Island, to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Mark Dana has been practicing in Rhode Island for over 25 years. He has handled hundreds of cases in courthouses throughout the state. Due to Attorney Dana’s knowledge and reputation, he can often be seen appearing as the legal commentator for NBC 10 in Providence.